Write a note on Hopkins as a modern poet.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hopkins represents much of the modernist movement that was to take hold in Europe and America within his time period.  The fact that his fame and appreciation only happened after his death proves this.  His personal life impacted his work.  Writing in the Victorian Era, he confronted issues that would plague thinkers and writers in the 20th century.  Of particular note is the theme of religion and merging a conventional notion of spirituality within the notion of self.  Being both a poet and person of the faith proved to be a challenge in the modern setting.  This can be seen in his experience of extreme emotions and, to a large extent, confronting his sexuality.  Certainly this battle between the person he wished to be according the conventional standards of religion and the person he was might have contributed to extremities he experienced in both his approach to life and his psychological frame of mind.  His work followed structure of poetry at the time, but he developed new methods of rhyme and meter, proving once again the idea of working within conventional standards, yet trying desperately to infuse personal voice within it.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To serve as examples of Hopkins's poems of extreme emotions are "Carrion Comfort" and "No Worst There is None" written while Hopkins was Professor of Greek at Universitiy College at Dublin where he became overwhelmed with his responsibilities. His poetry as "confessionals" and deeply personal reflections are certainly modernist in theme.  Such a poem as "I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, not Day" expresses Hopkins inner turmoil over his homosexuality:

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day,/What hourse, O what black hourse we have spent/This night!....And my lament/is cries coutless, cries like dead letters sent/To dearest him that lives alas! away/I am gall, I am heartburn.  God's most deep decree/Bitter would have me taste!my taste was me....

To write about such a topic was taboo, certainly, in the Victorian Age.